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Friday, September 26, 2014

Do Senior Citizens Belong in Romance?

Vonnie Davis
Although my husband teases me about doing negative math with my age--he claims I subtract a year instead of adding one--I have no problem admitting I'm sixty-six. With each passing year, I find I'm more and more invisible to the younger set, an inconvenience, a slower moving person they hurry to get around. Yet senior citizens still have value. We add a deeper dimension to families and communities. That's why I love adding at least one to my romances. In fact, I often spend as much time developing his or her character as I do my heroine or hero.

I often make them my comic relief. Not because I want to be seen as funny, but because we all love that person who makes us chuckle, no matter his or her age.

In my Christmas novella, SANTA WORE LEATHERS, the senior citizen neighbor Mrs. Minelli is quick to stick her nose into everyone's business, including the budding romance of Wolf and Becca. Now Becca has a German shepherd, Einstein, who sometimes charges out of the house, usually with a pair of her thongs in his mouth. During this freedom run, he got in some thorny bushes.
“Stay where you are. He’ll be fine. He’s got some thorns in his hide.” Wolf removed the tweezers stored in a slot of the knife and began extracting the offending needles. “We can’t have an awesome fella like you in pain now, can we?” He worked as quickly as he could. “One more, big guy, and then you’ll be fine.” The dog licked him several times. “Yeah, I like you too. Let’s keep what I’m about to do just between us, shall we?” Wolf ran his fingers over the affected groin area, keeping his attentions on the dog’s reactions. “Looks like we got them all.”
“What in blue blazes are you doing to that dog? Are you performing some kind of ‘beasty-wildy’ on him?” Mrs. Minelli, his neighbor, punctured the air with her cane, her white eyebrows arched in question.
This novella that's sold well in the UK and Germany is the kick-off to my "Wild Heat" series about a fire and marine rescue unit in Clearwater, Florida. These will be full-length novels. Book one, HOW TO SEDUCE A FIREMAN will soon be out in eBook format. In December, Harper Impulse is shooting for a paperback version, as well. 
My senior citizen in the first book is Milt Garland. He's a lonely, nosey man who lives on the first floor of Quinn's apartment building. For those of you old enough to remember The Andy Griffith Show, think of an older Barney Fife. Quinn, my hero, has befriended Milt who can't show his gratitude enough. Someone is spying on Quinn and Milt has nominated himself as Chief Security Man. He was attached and brought to the fire station where a meeting was being held to figure out who had abducted Cassie, the heroine.

Poor Milt’s jaw was swollen and starting to bruise. Quinn squatted in front of him. “Did that bastard hit you?”
The old man nodded. “I opened my door in the hope I could take the picture, nonchalant like so he wouldn’t know what I was up to, but Killer charged out and attacked him. Smart dog, Killer. He knows when a person’s no damn good.” Milt nodded once. “I got the picture just fine, but when I cussed out the man for kicking my dog, he cold-cocked me.” The old man turned to Noah. “For those of you who ain’t in the security business, that means he hit me before I knew what was about to happen.”
To Noah’s credit, he kept a straight face.
My favorite senior citizen is my alter-ego in book one of my contemporary romance with paranormal elements. Effie, or Gram, is bawdy, out-spoken and extremely protective of her grown granddaughter. The first page of the book, A HIGHLANDER'S OBSESSION, published by Random House describes her perfectly.

Paisley Munro tried  not to gawk at the two broad-shouldered men in kilts as she hefted her suitcase off the luggage carousel in the Inverness Airport, located northeast of the city referred to as the capitol of the Scottish Highlands. Her grandmother, on the other hand, was all eyes.
“Before we leave this country, I’m finding out what they wear under those kilts, even if I have to hike one up and take a gander myself.” Her grandmother patted her curls. She’d dyed her hair dark red for the trip. Unfortunately, the inability of her white hair to absorb the dye’s full effect resulted in a halo of pink curls. The combination of her tresses and her pink pantsuit made her look like the Pink Panther with wrinkles, just as skinny and wiry but without the tail.
“Behave yourself, Gram.” Paisley tugged her grandmother’s luggage off the slowly moving belt that squeaked with every couple inches gained. No use telling the free spirit to act her age. At seventy-four, why should she start now? “Our ride ought to be here somewhere.”
Paisley glanced around for Fiona Matheson, who should be holding a sign for Matheson Lodge. Fiona had promised in her reservation confirmation e-mail she’d meet them. 
Gram elbowed her. “Good grief, they’re coming toward us. Look at those broad shoulders and hairy legs. I’m not drooling, am I?” She pulled her shoulders back and thrust out her chest. She lowered her chin to talk to her breasts. “Look perky, girls. Sexy hunks at two o’clock.”
 *** I apologize for the goofy coloring of this post. The more I tried to fix it, the worse it looked. If you care to find out more about my books, visit my blog... or my website



  1. Vonnie, being a senior citizen myself, I enjoy the senior characters in stories. Many seniors are still very productive
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Yes, we are Karren. Don't put me in a box and label me "useless." I'll bust out fighting. LOL

  3. I like the senior citizens, too, probably because I like being one. Although my joints don't work very well, I've found my capacity for having a good time has grown exponentially. Great post, Vonnie.

    1. I think we let go of some of the hang-ups we had as young adults, some of the pressures. It's easier to have fun.

  4. Great post, Vonnie. I usually include one or two senior citizens in my stories, too. We may be invisible to some, but we're still contributing.

    1. Yes, we are, Caroline. I'm glad you like seniors in your stories, too.

  5. Excellent post, Vonnie, as ever. And I totally agree with you. I always include older characters in every story and they are extremely valuable.

    1. Senior citizens add a touch of wisdom and whimsy, don't you think, Beth? They're also a great source of learning.

  6. Hi Vonnie,
    I enjoyed your your post. I agree, Senior citizens bring something to a story that no one else can. I love to read stories that have at least one cantankerous ole' soul. I also enjoy the older person that adds a bit of stability and wisdom, and the more comically that wisdom is applied the more I love it. Highlander's Obsession is definitely on my reading list!

  7. In several of my books, I have secondary romances with, ahem, older people. In fact, in one of them Still The One, the respective grandparents of the hero and heroine, are having a love affair. I've always gotten great comments from readers about these secondary romances. I like to show the reality of love and sex, neither of which dies just because someone hits a certain age number. Great post, Vonnie. Btw, you don't look 66.


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